background

College InSight is a unique new web site for higher education data and research. The site is a valuable resource for anyone interested in college affordability, student debt, economic and racial diversity, student success, and other important issues in higher education.

Honors: College InSight was named one of the 10 Best College Websites by U.S. News & World Report!

challenge

This site needed to communicate effectively with a wide audience, including college students, parents of students, professors and the media.  It needed to pull together complicated data in a way that made it simple and easy to understand.

our solution

Through a series of brainstorming sessions, we worked with TICAS to come up with a simple concept including three different ways to view this college data and to compare data between institutions and groups of institutions. Users are invited to walk through the data from three, easy to understand perspectives:

Spotlight: Users start with a college, state, or type of school - view a snapshot of important data and a relevant comparison.

Topics: Users start with a topic that interests you, then dig deeper to see how specific colleges, states, or school types compare.

Explore: Users build their own table with any combination of colleges, variables, or years in the College InSight database.

results

The result is a deceptively complex system of graphical displays and technologies that make it easy for anyone to understand this data.  This site provides user-friendly profiles with detailed information for almost 5,000 U.S. colleges and universities, and aggregates data to create totals and averages for states, types of schools, and other groupings.

Students, parents, press and others use this website to compare colleges, states, and more based on important issues:

Affordability: tuition and the total cost of attendance; how students cover costs through federal, state, and college grant aid, as well as student loans; average student debt levels; colleges' use of need- and merit-based aid.

Diversity: data on the racial and ethnic diversity of both students and faculty; indicators of student economic diversity, such as the percentage of undergraduates who received federal Pell Grants and the income distribution of students who applied for financial aid.

Student success: graduation rates and the number of degrees and certificates awarded.